That's Na-Cho Cheese! Daring Dairy Crimes To Mark National Cheese Day
It's a comfort food and a delicacy, but cheese has also played a role in international crime rings, thefts, assaults — and even murder. In honor of National Cheese Day, here are a few of the most memorable cheese crimes.
And let's not forget about the Internet's 9 Biggest Crimes Against Food!
Photo By: Mug shot of Stephanie Hicks [Brevard County Jail]
Photo By: ounds of Parmigiano-Reggiano on sale in the Rungis International Market in France [Myrabella/Wikimedia Commons]
Photo By: Mug shot of Lonnie Franklin [Los Angeles Police]
Photo By: Cheese slices [Ismael Marder/Pixabay]
Photo By: Al Capone [Wikimedia Commons]
Photo By: Casu Marzu cheese [Shardan/CC BY-SA 2.5]
Photo By: Mug shot of Luke Gatti [University of Connecticut Police Department]
Nacho Cheese Meltdown Leads To Arrest
MELBOURNE, FL – A Florida woman was arrested after allegedly throwing hot nacho cheese at a 7-Eleven employee, according to Local 10 News.
The incident began when Stephanie Hicks, 31, reportedly became angry at a Melbourne 7-Eleven employee after the employee asked her not to open the cheese dispenser, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.
After the employee subsequently refused to serve her, Hicks then allegedly threw the sandwich and cheese and said "the customer is always right" before walking outside.
Hicks was later arrested and charged with battery. She was booked into the Brevard County jail, and released a day later.
The (Cheese) Wheels Of Justice Turn Slowly
ITALY — Cheese is a huge target for food thieves.
And one of the most sought-after dairy products is Parmiggiano Reggiano, a protected product which is only produced in the countryside around Modena, Bologna, and Parma. In Italy, 330 makers have been the victim of cheese heists, according to The Economic Times.
Nearly $7 million worth of the cheese was stolen between the years of 2015 and 2016, according to reports from the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium.
In 2017, Italian police arrested members of an alleged criminal gang whom they suspected of pulling off many cheese and wine heists.
Cheesy Pizza Slice Helps Capture A Serial Killer
LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles police detectives were able to nab Lonnie Franklin, Jr., a.k.a the serial killer nicknamed the "Grim Sleeper," after following him to a pizza joint.
In 2010, detectives suspected that Franklin — who was later convicted of killing 10 victims between 1985 to 2007 — could be their man. So they began surveillance on him, according to Mental Floss.
Investigators had already obtained familial DNA from Franklin's son, but they needed a sample of Franklin's. Police were able to get the missing piece of the puzzle when Franklin stopped for a slice at a restaurant in Orange County. After he ate, an undercover detective grabbed Franklin's crust, plates, and napkins and took them in for testing.
The judge ruled the evidence was admissible, since Franklin was throwing away his food at the time.
The results led to Franklin's arrest — and he was later convicted and sentenced to death in 2016.
Boy With Dairy Allergy Dies After Classmate Throws Cheese Sandwich Down His Shirt
LONDON, UK — Karanbir Cheema, 13, suffered a serious allergic reaction in Greenford, West London, in 2017 after a classmate reportedly tossed a cheese sandwich down his shirt.
A St. Pancras Coroners' Court board heard that Cheema was severely allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs, and all nuts, and was asthmatic, according to The Telegraph.
Following the incident, Cheema reportedly went into anaphylactic shock and died a few days later at the hospital.
A consultant pediatrician brought in by the Metropolitan Police to review the case told the inquest that this type of reaction via skin contact was “extraordinarily unusual," and that he had never before seen a case resulting in death.
A 13-year-old male classmate of Cheema's was later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but was not charged.
Al Capone Was The Big Cheese
CHICAGO, IL — Mob boss Al Capone ruled the crime underworld of Chicago during the Prohibition era of the 1920s to early 1930s. But his empire expanded into other areas: According to Atlas Obscura, Capone had a stronghold on the cheese market as well.
He would allegedly pressure pizza parlor owners into buying cheese from farms he owned in Wisconsin by making them an offer they couldn't refuse — because if they did, their restaurant could go up in flames.
In the early 1930s, Capone bought a milk processor, Meadowmoor Dairies, Inc., in order to bolster production. He then allegedly had his brother Ralph Capone ship milk in from Wisconsin, where it was cheaper, in order to bypass fixed dairy pricing.
The "milk wars" came to an end when Capone was jailed for tax evasion.
The Most Dangerous Cheese In The World?
SARDINIA, ITALY — Casu marzu, which hails from Sardinia, is made from sheep’s milk — but with a twist. It's also infested with live maggots.
Each portion of casu marzu cheese should contain thousands of live insect larvae, according to All That's Interesting.
The production process involves eggs hatching into larvae, and then letting their excretions pass through their bodies to produce the cheese's "distinct soft texture and rich flavor."
I know you must be excited to try it, but alas, the dairy product has fallen victim to EU food regulations, so for now it's only sold on the black market. And in case you were wondering ... the cheese is meant to be eaten while the maggots are still alive.
Mac & Cheese Run Ends In Arrest For Teen
STORRS, CT — In October of 2015, Luke Gatti, 19, of Long Island was arrested by campus police following a cringe-worthy fight over purchasing macaroni and cheese at the University of Connecticut student union cafeteria.
Gatti was caught on camera cursing and insulting a student union cafe manager who refused to serve him bacon-jalapeno macaroni and cheese due to the fact that Gatti had an open beer in his hand. Not only are open containers not allowed in the restaurant, but Gatti was underage at the time.
In December 2015, a Connecticut judge gave Gatti a year of probation for the infraction, and also required him to join a substance abuse program and perform 100 hours of community service.
In 2016 he made headlines again: After publicly apologizing on YouTube, and even soliciting donations of mac and cheese for food pantries, Gatti was arrested after allegedly injuring an officer and “causing the door to come off its hinges,” while trying to escape from rehab.